Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

Do you know what a vegetable is, scientifically speaking? Don't worry - neither does anybody else. Apparently it's a purely cultural and culinary distinction. Sadly, that means all the times my siblings and I vied to be the most correct in determing what was a fruit and what was a vegetable were (wait for the bad pun) fruitless - they can be both. I learned a few interesting things about the etymology of the word vegetable though - it comes from the Latin verb vegetare, to animate, and related adjectives vegetus, lively, sprightly and vegetabilis, animating. Pretty ironic that we now use "vegetate" and "veg out" to mean exactly the opposite. That's quite the radical semantic shift.


Fiddle Me This

Music was a pretty big part of my life in high school, but here at Midd I feel like I practically live and breathe it (not the way music majors do though - they're just nuts). J-Term feels so incomplete without music rehearsals nearly every day, but I've been making up for it by going to see some interesting musical performances. A friend from home commented that I've been in Vermont too long when I start getting really into folk music, but I've found a new love - fiddle. It doesn't even have to be particularly good fiddle playing. There's just something about the sound that's really energetic and happy. I love the campus band Dawn's Basement, who play rock music with fiddle, but this weekend I experienced fiddling in its natural habitat - Appalachian folk music, performed by the female duet Mayfly, who are a subset of the folk band Sugarblue. I've never liked the idea of folk music, possibly because I thought it didn't involve good singing. Obviously I'd just never heard good folk music. Mayfly's close harmonies, catchy rhythms, and of course fiddling make for some pretty exuberant songs. Also this weekend, I saw a Slavic-language folk choir, which was the most entertaining concert I've been to in a while. Slavic folk songs have the greatest lyrics, an inordinate number of them involving cabbage. In a sort of bizarre connection between these two concerts, it turns out that members of both of them participated in Village Harmony programs, possibly the coolest music camps I've ever heard of - though I wouldn't go to the one in Republic of Georgia, as the description says it's not for those who require daily hot showers. Singers among you should check it out though.